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Ghana Journal of Geography

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Global Warming: A Review of the Debates on the Causes, Consequences and Politics of Global Response

Arega Bazezew Berlie

Abstract


A review of the causes, consequences and political responses to global warming is the focus of this paper. The term global warming is now popularly used to refer to the concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) in the atmosphere attributed mainly to human activities. Evidence show that, there has been an intense and often emotional debate on the causes and consequences of global warming for many years. Though, the causes are still widely disputed and lack consensuses among proponents, much of the evidence prove to be increasing global warming. It is no longer a prediction— it is actually happening. Major indicators include extinction of many species, population displacement/migration, desertification, famine, drought and chronic food insecurity. Governments, the scientific community and politicians are not unanimous to reduce global warming which emanate from their political positions and conflict of interests. The center of the debate is what causes global warming. In the scientific literature, there is a strong argument that global warming has intensified in recent decades and the changes are more of human-induced greenhouse gases emissions. However, opponents of anthropogenic global warming at the other extreme strongly argue that the cause of global warming is natural and the contribution of humans is minimal. These project the issue of global warming at the forefront of the international political agenda and make it a major political, institutional and environmental challenge of our time.  The general objective of the study is to discuss the debates among the politicians and scientific communities on the causes and consequences of global warming. In this regard, the relevant literature in relation to the debates on global warming are reviewed. Finally, global warming is inevitable and no longer a prediction. Alternative actions such as climate change adaptation and/or mitigation measures have to be given top priority besides the reduction of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions.



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